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It pays to work … less?

Minnesota State Roundup

July 1, 2006

It pays to work … less?

A variety of reports on jobs and income show that overall income continues to accelerate while certain groups are working less.

Overall, the state has watched its share of the national population decline slightly, while its share of national income has increased and is moving into the top 10 in per capita income, according to data from the state Department of Employment and Economic Development. The greatest gains in income can be traced to the rise in wages. But the state's national share of income from dividends, interest and rent has been strong over the last decade and a half.

At the same time, certain populations are working less. For example, the number of workers holding more than one job has been steadily decreasing over the last decade (though still considerably higher than the national average). Teens across the country are also working less: From 2000 to 2004, labor force participation fell from 52 percent to 44 percent. The drop among Minnesota teens is even larger (10 percentage points), though at 60 percent, the state's rate is still well above average.

Some are expecting that rate to bounce back a bit, however, thanks to a stronger job market (and thus better wages) and high gas prices.

Ronald A. Wirtz